Today, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), introduced the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act in the Senate. He is joined by two original Senate cosponsors, Dan Coats (R-IN) and John Thune (R-SD) who together seek to correct the massive 16:1 funding disparity between contraceptive-centered vs. abstinence-centered sex education within current sex education policy.
Valerie Huber, President of NAEA remarks: “We applaud the leadership of Sen. Graham and appreciate his desire to give teens every opportunity to succeed. We also appreciate the efforts of Senators Coats and Thune to immediately cosponsor this important bill. The skills provided in a Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education program equip students with resources that help them avoid poverty as well as the many possible consequences of teen sex. Social science research is replete with the advantages afforded to students who wait for sex.”
For example, a Brookings Institute study revealed that only 2% will live in poverty if they implement these three immediate prerequisites to success: (1) graduate high school; (2) get a full time job; (3) wait until 21 and marry before having children. SRA abstinence education programs teach the skills and provide encouragement for students to set and achieve goals, concentrate on their education, and teach the benefits of waiting for sex until marriage – the precise prescription suggested in the Brookings study.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that most parents, regardless of race or political party, want their children to receive abstinence education – and to wait for marriage before engaging in sex. They also support more equitable funding for abstinence education.
An identical bill (HR 718) was introduced by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) in the House on February 14.
The Abstinence Education Reallocation Act establishes a Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence education program for communities that want their youth to receive abstinence education. The program is designed to reinforce the healthy decisions being made by the majority of teens who aren’t sexually active – and to empower those who are sexually experienced with skills to choose a healthier lifestyle. A recent report from the House Energy & Commerce Committee found that SRA abstinence education programs are the best public health strategy for sex education. In addition, a growing body of research shows that students who receive SRA abstinence education classes are more likely to delay sex, but if they become sexually active, they have fewer partners and are no less likely to use a condom.
The bill will not increase the federal budget, but will fund the program through monies already allocated in Secretary Sibelius’ Prevention and Public Health Fund.
NAEA strongly supports the passage of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act and urges Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to cosponsor this vital bill.